The right gear is essential for both horse and rider when horseback riding. In this guide, we focus specifically on horse riding gloves because they’re crucial for keeping your hands protected while riding or working around the barn. Since our hands are one of the most important ways we communicate with our horses, riding gloves are important for equestrians to wear all year round. We’ll highlight some of the best features to look for when shopping for new riding gloves and our 9 favorite glove recommendations.
Our top riding glove picks
- Best show gloves: Roeckl Grip Chester
- Best summer riding gloves: EGO 7 Air Mesh Gloves
- Best technical riding gloves: SSG Technical Gloves
- Best close-contact riding gloves: Roeckl Grip Lite Gloves
- Best winter riding gloves: Roeckl Grip Winter Gloves
- Best training gloves: Ariat Air Grip Gloves
- Best leather riding gloves: RSL by USG Paris Gloves
- Best synthetic leather riding gloves: Kunkle Equestrian Premium Gloves
- Best all-purpose riding gloves: SSG All Weather Sport Support Gloves
What are horse riding gloves?
Horse riding gloves are a type of protective gear worn when riding horses to help you maintain a secure grip on the reins. Riding gloves come in various styles, colors, and designs to complement your riding attire and personal preferences. Your specific discipline, whether dressage, show jumping, or eventing, influences your choice of riding gloves to ensure they meet the demands of your chosen riding style.
Why are riding gloves important?
Riders communicate with their horses primarily through the reins, by guiding the horse and applying pressure in the direction you want the horse to go. Long hours spent riding can cause significant wear and tear on your hands, which is where riding gloves come in.
Riding gloves offer protection for your hands. When riding, your hands are exposed to friction from the reins and susceptible to blisters and abrasions. Without a strong grip, your chances of a fall increase. Riding gloves help minimize these risks by providing a barrier between the reins with a layer of cushioning. They also minimize the risk of sunburn by shielding your hands from the sun.
Additionally, the palms and fingers of riding gloves often have rubberized or textured surfaces to enhance your grip on the reins. Wearing gloves enhances good control and communication with your horse through the reins, even in wet or slippery conditions.
Depending on the style and material of the gloves, some riding gloves are designed to offer protection against specific weather conditions. For example, winter riding gloves with insulation to keep hands warm in cold weather, and waterproof riding gloves improve grip in wet conditions. Riding gloves for warm weather typically have mesh panels to promote airflow and circulation. All of these features help you maintain control of the reins so you can ride safely.
How to choose horse riding gloves
When choosing riding gloves, riders should consider the specific requirements of their discipline, their comfort preferences, and the weather conditions they typically ride in. Finding the right type of riding gloves can enhance both safety and performance while ensuring a comfortable riding experience.
Here are a few considerations to remember when shopping for new riding gloves:
1. Riding discipline
If you participate in a specific riding discipline like dressage, show jumping, or eventing, you should choose gloves tailored to the demands and traditions of that discipline.
Gloves for dressage
Dressage gloves are sleek, elegant, and minimalistic in design. They’re often made of fine leather and have a close-fitting, unobtrusive appearance to maintain a refined look in the dressage arena.
Gloves for show jumping
Show jumping gloves are designed to provide a good grip on the reins while allowing for greater freedom of movement in the fingers and wrists. They are typically less bulky and offer a more streamlined fit.
Gloves for eventing
Eventing requires gloves that offer both grip and protection for participating in multiple disciplines, including dressage, cross country, and show jumping. Eventing gloves might feature a sleek, elegant design similar to dressage gloves but include superior technical features for more intensive riding. Eventing gloves are designed to be durable and versatile.
Gloves for everyday use
Consider all-purpose riding gloves for everyday use. These gloves are versatile and suitable for various riding disciplines, including general riding, schooling, and casual riding. They provide a good grip on the reins and offer basic protection.
2. Fit and comfort
Fit is crucial for comfort and control. Look for gloves that fit snugly without being too tight, especially in the fingers and palms. Some gloves have stretch panels or adjustable closures to help achieve a customized fit.
3. Weather conditions
Consider the weather conditions you typically ride in–and yes, gloves should be worn all year round. For cold weather, look for insulated or winter riding gloves. If you often ride in wet conditions, opt for waterproof or water-resistant gloves.
Gloves to wear in winter
Winter riding gloves are designed to keep the hands warm during cold weather riding. They are often lined with fleece or other insulating materials and may have additional features like adjustable cuffs to keep out cold air and moisture.
Gloves to wear in summer
Wearing gloves while riding in the summer is incredibly important. Without gloves, sweaty hands make it difficult to maintain a firm grip on the reins. Wearing riding gloves in summer also protects your hands from sunburn and UV rays you’d otherwise get from long exposure to the sun.
Gloves to wear in the rain
Waterproof riding gloves are designed to keep the hands dry. They are often made with waterproof or water-resistant materials and sealed seams to prevent water infiltration, allowing you to maintain a strong grip on the reins no matter what.
Make sure the gloves provide a good grip on the reins. Look for gloves with palm and finger materials that offer grip-enhancing properties, such as leather, synthetic materials with texture, or rubberized surfaces. A secure grip is essential for effective communication with your horse.
Riding gloves should be durable and able to withstand the rigors of equestrian activities. Reinforcement in areas prone to wear, such as the fingers and palms, can help extend the lifespan of the gloves.
6. Ease of cleaning
Consider how easy it is to clean and maintain the gloves. Some gloves can be machine-washed, while others may require hand cleaning or special care. There’s nothing wrong with investing in a nice pair of leather gloves, just make sure you have the proper cleaning materials to keep them in good condition.
7. Performance-enhancing features
Riding gloves are designed to boost your performance, to begin with, but certain features take it to the next level. Here are a few features that might enhance your performance:
Fingerless riding gloves
These gloves leave the fingertips exposed, providing better tactile sensitivity and allowing riders to feel the reins more directly. They are often chosen for warm-weather riding.
Mesh riding gloves
These riding gloves are made partly of mesh, usually on the back panel, while the palms of the gloves are made of leather or suede. Mesh gloves are best worn during hotter weather because they are highly breathable, allowing your hands to stay cool and dry while you ride. Mesh-top gloves also allow your hands to get some sun, so your hands will match your summer tan when the gloves are off.
8. Style and aesthetics
Riding gloves come in various styles and colors to match your riding attire and personal preferences. If you are competing in dressage or equitation regularly, consider choosing a pair of gloves that coordinate with your competition outfit.
The best horse riding gloves
Since we’ve all been riding for many years at The Farm House, we know a thing or two about riding gloves. Based on our experiences and customer feedback, we’ve ranked some of the best riding gloves available for equestrians.
1. Roeckl – Grip Chester Riding Gloves ($59.95)
Best show gloves
- Close-contact grip
The Roeckl Grip Gloves are a widely popular show glove and can be worn in all types of weather. The low-profile seams make for a soft glove that feels far less bulky than other gloves of its type. Roeck-Grip® is Roeckl’s exclusive performance textile, which is supple, flexible, and breathable for maximum feel and grip on the reins. The Roeck-Grip® Glove fits like a second skin, giving you a close contact feel on the reins. These gloves are also available in multiple colors, including black, white, caramel, and mocha, and are machine washable (at 86°F).
2. EGO 7 Air Mesh Gloves ($59.00)
Best riding gloves for summer
- Highly breathable
- Touch screen compatible
The EGO7 Air Mesh Gloves are a must-have riding glove for your summer wardrobe. The mesh top helps increase breathability, discourages tan lines, and minimizes sweaty palms as you ride. Though these gloves look extremely fashionable, they’re highly durable and feature excellent grip on the reins. The EGO 7 Air Mesh Gloves will add an elegant touch to any competition look.
3. SSG Technical Glove ($32.95)
Best technical riding glove
- Superior wet or dry grip
- Machine washable
- Aquasuede® palm
When riding in uncertain conditions, the SSG Technical Glove is the perfect choice. The Aquasuede® palm provides superior grip in both wet and dry conditions and allows for a close-contact touch. The Coolmax lycra back makes these gloves highly flexible and moisture-wicking for hot weather riding.
4. Roeckl – Grip Lite Riding Gloves ($59.95)
Best close-contact gloves
- Second-skin feel
- Machine washable
For riders who prefer an even smaller silhouette for their gloves, there’s the Grip Lite Riding Gloves from Roeckl. These gloves are incredibly breathable with mesh paneling on the back and feature the classic Roeck-Grip® on the palms and fingers. These gloves are designed to fit like a second skin, providing more of a close contact feel than other riding gloves. They’re also machine washable up to 86°F, making them extremely easy to care for.
5. Roeckl – Grip Winter Gloves ($72.50)
Best winter riding gloves
- Fleece lining
- Machine washable
If you love Roeckl riding gloves, you need a pair of their Grip Winter Gloves. Featuring the same low profile, second-skin fit, and superior grip, these winter riding gloves also include a soft Micro Bemberg fleece lining to keep your hands nice and warm. Like the other Roeckl gloves, they are also machine washable.
6. Ariat Air Grip Gloves ($34.95)
Best training gloves
- Stretch mesh backhand
Ariat has been making top-quality equestrian gear for decades and their riding gloves are no exception. Designed for a wide variety of equestrian disciplines, the Ariat Air Grip gloves set a new standard in performance. The Stretch Tek Twill allows for greater flexibility, fit, and style, while the synthetic suede palm provides amazing sensitivity and grip. Lightweight and cool, these gloves are the perfect all-purpose option for equestrians.
7. RSL by USG Paris Riding Gloves ($78.00)
Best leather riding gloves
- Glitter closure
- Napa leather with Coolmax inserts
- Multiple colors
When you want to add a little bling to your riding outfit, these leather riding gloves from USG are the ones to pick. With a subtle glitter closure, you’ll add personality to all your competition looks. You’ll also enjoy supple, flexible Napa leather outer and Coolmax inserts that keep you cool and comfortable while you ride.
8. Kunkle Equestrian Premium gloves ($39.99)
Best synthetic leather gloves
- Superior durability
- Second-skin feel with extra tacky grip
- Machine washable & touch-screen friendly
These Kunkle gloves were crafted with precision and rigorously tested by equestrians from novices to Grand Prix Olympians. This black show glove is made of 60% PU and 40% Nylon, so it feels like a second skin. The textured pebbled finish provides superior grip, and Kunkle claims this glove’s durable synthetic leather lasts 2x longer than other gloves. These premium gloves dry swiftly between rides, are hand and machine-washable, and are even touch-screen compatible. Offering all the leading glove features at a budget-friendly price, Kunkle has raised the bar in equestrian glove design.
9. SSG All Weather Sport Support Ladies Gloves($29.95)
Best all-purpose glove
- Highly durable
- 2” cuff
- All-purpose capability
For a reliable pair of riding gloves that you can wear in all types of weather, look no further than these All Weather Sport gloves from SSG. With an unassuming black design and close fit, these gloves feel like a second skin while riding. The 2” cuff provides excellent wrist support and security. In hot weather, these gloves help wick moisture away from your hands so you can maintain a strong grip on the reins.
Get a grip on a great pair of riding gloves
Riding gloves are an essential part of a rider’s wardrobe. Whether you’re training, schooling, or at high competition levels, a great pair of gloves can make all the difference.
But don’t stop at riding gloves! Here at The Farm House, we stock everything an equestrian needs, from riding boots to show shirts, breeches, and more. Make sure your riding wardrobe is complete and shop our full collection today.
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